Rich Galen

Let's don't sound like some dopey pundit on cable TV reading the talking points you got in an email and pretend that Barack Obama did not get a bounce out of his convention.

He did. But not as much as the Barack Obama campaign might have wanted.

On August 27 - the day the GOP convention was supposed to have started, the average of national polls had Obama leading Mitt Romney 46.8 percent to 45.7 percent. That is a difference of 1.1 percentage points.

As of last evening, the five national polls that were current showed Obama with a net average advantage of 3.0 percentage points.

Obama got a bounce of 1.9 percentage points, but as more post-convention polling comes in, that is likely to rise.

Reuters reported over the weekend that neither convention lit many voters' fires. Only 29 percent gave the Democrats' convention a "good" rating; 27 percent thought as highly of the Republican event.

Over the past three Presidential elections the bounces have, according to CNN, been as follows

2008: Obama +2; McCain 0

2004: Bush + 2; Kerry 0

2000: Bush + 8; Gore +8 - Net = 0

So, Obama's bounce was about the same as he got four years ago; and what Bush got eight years ago.

Given all that, the concept of convention bounces - like conventions themselves - may have outlived their usefulness.

While you would rather be slightly ahead in the polls than slightly behind, the Mitt Romney campaign can take some solace in the fact that Obama is below 50 percent in every poll. He's just closer to 50 percent than Romney.

But, before you run screaming into the night, there are a couple of things to take into account.

The first is the scheduling of the two conventions.

The Ds held theirs in Charlotte the week after the Rs had held theirs in Tampa meaning it was going to be difficult for Romney to have gained any momentum before the festivities began in North Carolina.

Second, following the Romney convention we went through three days of the Labor Day weekend when normal human beings were not paying much attention to politics because they were busy getting their kids into back-to-school rhythm and/or swearing this would be the absolutely last season for the family grill that looks like it first saw service - and tough service - during the First World War.

And when I say "normal human beings" I specifically exclude anyone connected to any political campaign, anyone connected to a survey research firm, and anyone who has ever appeared on one of the cable news programs.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at